The growing demand for online freedom across the Middle East and North Africa has ensured a growing user base for VPNs, such as AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield application.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows users to set up secure connections to other networks across the Internet, accessing region-restricted domains and shielding browsing activity from others.
HotSpot Shield has propelled AnchorFree.com into the world's top 35 websites, generating more monthly visitors than CNN, Yelp and MTV, according to web traffic monitor Quantcast.
Internet users in the MENA region are a strong contributor to the company's rise to prominence, with active mobile users increasing by nearly 1,000 percent last year – total installs skyrocketed by 775 percent. AnchorFree also saw desktop users in the region increase by 30 percent, despite the site being blocked by many regional ISPs.
"The premise behind AnchorFree is simple – we want to place consumers in control of their personal information online, safeguarding them from threats such as malware and identity theft. Essentially, our addressable market is around 5.7 billion people that access the web through computers or mobile devices," said David Gorodyanksy, CEO and co-founder, AnchorFree.
"As a rapidly developing, youthful and tech-literate region, it is only natural that they would be drawn to solutions that offer a better, more secure online experience. I am extremely confident that our profile and growth will continue to accelerate in this part of the world in the coming year."
Last year, AnchorFree's business potential helped secure $52 million in C-round funding (bringing the total to $63 million to date) and the company is enjoying double-digit profits every year.
Hotspot Shield protects against snooping and identity theft by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between a mobile device or computer and the internet. It also detects and blocks malware and compresses data to save on roaming charges when abroad.
Since launching in 2007, the product has garnered 120 million downloads across 190 countries – six million new downloads now take place each month. Five billion page views are made secure every
month and more than 700 million malware threats have been thwarted to date.
A significant portion of AnchorFree's recent success is due to the Hotspot Shield mobile app, which has been downloaded more than 10 million times in just 18 months. Approximately 1.5 million new downloads are now taking place per month across both Android and iOS platforms.
Hotspot Shield reached number one for security apps on the iPhone and iPad earlier this year and has also ranked number one in the iOS App store's Utilities category in more than 10 countries.
The VPN can also enable users to reduce their bandwidth by up to 50 percent, which has saved global users more than 103 million MB in the past 18 months.